How to prune a fruit plant

The question may arise for the amateur arborist: » What is the need to prune the plants? In nature they know how to regulate themselves “. Well, although this consideration is correct, we must never forget that man selects fruit-bearing plants for purposes very different from those intended by nature.

In nature, fructification simply aims to perpetuate the species, without any performance objective. us instead we are interested in plants producing a good amount of fruit with consistency and quality as explained in the orchard guide, and it is precisely in this that pruning interventions come to our aid.

That said, however, careful pruning techniques that fall within the limits of the plant’s natural expressions of development should be preferred. Indeed, organic arboriculture aims to respect the natural tendencies of the cultivation and growth of plants by orienting them correctly.

In this article, we’ll find out what pruning is and outline some useful general guidelines for this job. In Orto Da Coltivare you will also find the pruning guides for each fruit plant, with specific indications for each tree.


what is size

the size is all the operations intended to guide the plant in its development, limit its size, regulate the load of the fruit and favor the interception of sunlight by the foliage . These are mainly cutting operations, but also include the removal of shoots, thinning and bending of branches.

The different types of size

Basically, when we refer to pruning, we must distinguish between the following types:

  • brood size , which is carried out in the first years after planting and serves to give the plant the desired shape. For each species, there are certain farming methods that are considered suitable for productive purposes and that often facilitate the operations of harvesting the soil, making scales superfluous. With the interventions of breeding pruning, the formation of a harmonic skeleton and the entry into production of the plant are favoured;
  • production size , is that which is carried out regularly in the factory in the years following the actual start of production. The main purpose of this type of pruning is to balance the vegetative and reproductive development, and to avoid disadvantages such as the alternation of production (years of fruiting alternated with years of unloading);
  • cull size to be done when necessary, for example in cases where a plant needs to be remodeled, or given back after years of “wild” growth without pruning.

know the plant

Before pruning a fruit plant, it is essential to have a basic understanding of its nature and physiology. In the articles on the size of each species we will go into the details, but in summary now we can remember that:

    • The pear according to the varieties, tends to produce on short peduncles called lamburde, and on the twigs, small branches of 15-30 cm maximum with a terminal flower bud.
  • The Apple tree fruits on 1-year-old trumpets, 2-year-old lambs, and on mixed branches composed of woody branches and a terminal flowering branch (and therefore not to be shortened, otherwise they will not produce).
  • stone fruits (peach, plum, apricot, cherry and almond) bear fruit mainly in toast, on mixed branches (which, unlike pome fruit, have many flowers and end in a wood bud and can therefore suffer cuts shortening), and in small clusters of twigs called May clusters, which are productive for many years.
  • The face bears fruit on branches and 1-year-old shoots, olive on sprouts, citrus on 2-year-old shoots and shoots, actinidia on 1-year-old shoots, persimmon on toast and sprouts of 1 year, the vine on 1 year shoots, walnut and hazelnut shoots.

However, there are differences between individual species and between different varieties of a species.

The period during which it is pruned

There are two different times to prune during the year: winter pruning and summer pruning.

winter pruning

Winter pruning can be carried out from autumn until flowering, that is, on dormant deciduous plants. Pushing it back a little before flowering has the advantage of better recognizing the flower buds, because they are more swollen than the wood buds and this makes it possible to decide on the load of flowers from.

Summer size or in green

Green pruning can take place at different times during the growing season, and depending on when it is done, different results can be achieved. For example, late cuttings in mid-August will result in moderate, orderly plant growth in the future, while early cuttings in July mean some vegetative release.

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